Zachary Worden, Cougars Athletics
CALGARY – The Mount Royal University Cougars and MacEwan Griffins played Mount Royal's annual Shoot for the Cure game Friday night at Kenyon Court. 2018 is the 7th year of the annual charity game at MRU where the Cougars wear their pink jerseys in support of breast cancer.
The Griffins came away with a 73-66 win in a game that was close throughout. Kayla Ivicak finished with a double-double, scoring a game-high 21 points and coming away with 19 rebounds. Mackenzie Farmer chipped in 16 points, getting to the basket and using her size to finish at the rim.
The Cougars scoring leaders were Maddison Hooper and Maria Blanco, who scored 13 points each. Hooper used her shot to threaten the Griffins' defense from all over the floor. Blanco made her impact through her effort. She was all over the floor making hustle plays that stood out to anyone watching the game. Charity Marlatt was huge for MRU. She was unstoppable inside, coming away with a double-double of her own. She finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds and made five of her nine shot attempts.
The gym was electric right from the get-go as both teams looked to run and play at a fast pace. The Griffins were able to deal with the aggressive defense from the Cougars and started the game on a 10-0 run to break out to an early lead.
Despite the early deficit, the Cougars energy and outside shooting helped them respond and get back into the game. They ended the quarter on a 10-4 run, cutting the Griffins' lead to four and taking momentum heading into the second quarter.
Ivicak got off to a hot start for the visitors, as she scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds through the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Griffins were able to find success on the offensive end by getting to the rim and finishing when they got there. They used their offense to get some separation from the Cougars' on the scoreboard.
The Cougars didn't stay down long as the game of runs continued as the Cougars came firing back to cut their deficit to three with one minute remaining in the half.
After the Griffins' scored the final basket of the half, they took a 42-37 lead into the break. Ivicak and Farmer were the main sources of scoring for MacEwan, combining for 23 points in the first 20 minutes.
The Cougars' offense was fueled by their seven made three-pointers in the half. Hooper, Marnie Garner and Jordan Blaskin all hit two each, making their mark on the offensive end. Marlatt was a big inside presence for MRU in the first half, tallying six points and seven rebounds.
Coming out of the halftime break both teams fought to take momentum. They spent the majority of the quarter trading baskets and getting to the free throw line. After only seven free throw attempts in the first half, the teams combined for 17 shots at the line in the third.
When the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, the Griffins had taken a seven-point lead.
The defensive intensity in the fourth was upped by both teams. The Griffins slowly built their lead up over the course of the quarter, but once again the Cougars were able to respond cut their deficit down heading into the stretch run of the game. MRU found success getting the ball inside and grabbing offensive rebounds to gain extra possessions, to help them get back within reach of MacEwan.
Despite the Cougars fight down the stretch, the Griffins were able to hold them off and come away with the six-point win.
The two teams will tip-off the second game of the weekend Saturday night at Kenyon Court. The game starts at 4 p.m. MDT and can be streamed live on www.canadawest.tv.